Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray talks to reporters during a post-game news conference following an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Kyler Murray’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honor recognized not only his individual numbers, but that the Arizona Cardinals needed all of that production just to reach five wins in 2019.
That’s the assumed advantage the quarterback got over fellow rookies like Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown.
He was simply at a more necessary and valuable position.
But appreciation toward Murray’s rookie year goes beyond his draft class. He’s well-respected among his position group in NFL-wide terms.
Four editors at NFL.com ranked every one of 57 quarterbacks who started a game in 2019, and Murray came in 13th, falling into a tier of big-name peers. Wrote Tony Blair:
It’s actually kind of encouraging that Murray didn’t just cruise to the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Maybe going through some bumps in 2019 (including seven games with a sub-80 passer rating) helped prepare him for when the difficulty level ramps up — along with the stakes — in 2020.
Murray started all 16 regular season games a year ago, throwing for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. He added 544 rushing yards and four more scores.
NFL.com editors Blair, Ali Bhanpuri, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr all had Murray within three spots on their individual rankings. Blair graded Murray the highest at 13th, while Parr ranked him the lowest at 15th.
That had Murray just behind Atlanta Falcons veteran Matt Ryan, who came in 12th on every one of the writers’ lists. The Cardinals rookie was a spot ahead of New England’s Tom Brady and two ahead of Super Bowl LIV losing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Fittingly, MVP Lamar Jackson of the Ravens and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs split votes for first and second in the NFL.com QB indexing. Carolina Panthers backup Will Grier, who appeared in two games, found himself at the very bottom of the list.
And for very curious Cardinals fans who want to know about the player that Arizona drafted in the first round a year before Murray then traded a day after selecting Murray, Miami Dolphins second-year pro Josh Rosen came in 52nd, just five spots out of last in the rankings. Said Blair:
Rosen’s fate, failing to catch on in Miami after being jettisoned by Arizona, will haunt the nightmares of every player — let alone quarterback — drafted in the top 10 for generations to come. I can only hope there is an alternate dimension in which he’s ready to make the leap in Year 3 with a stable, supportive franchise.